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Photos from Uxmal


We visited Uxmal and Kabah on an excursion from Merida.

Uxmal was a much more compact site than Chichen Itza, and much less crowded.

Uxmal is near the Puuc Hills, the only hills on the Yucatan peninsula and water was collected from rainfall rather than from cenotes. For this reason the rain god Chac was very important here, and masks of him are everywhere.

The Piramide del Adivino is unusual because it has an oval base. Some people say this is because the archaeologists reconstructed it wrong.

Like most other Mayan Pyramids it was built over several other pyramids. In this case four earlier structures have been found. Some of the earlier temples are accessible, but the pyramid was closed when we were there.

The Quadrangulo de las Monjas consists of four buildings around a quadrangle, each built on a different level. Each building is decorated in a different style and represents a different level of the Mayan universe.

The lattice style of decoration is typical of Uxmal. At Chichen Itza the decoration carved into the building stone. At Uxmal the decoration on the buildings was added afterwards as a veneer or mosaic.

The north building represents heaven, and has thirteen doors reflecting the thirteen levels of heaven. The west building has seven doorways, (seven is the mystical number of the earth) and represents the place where the sun descends into the underworld.

The east building represents the place where the sun is reborn. The south building has nine doorways. Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, has nine layers.

 

After seeing Uxmal we went to the nearby site of Kabah. The main building here is called the Codz Poop, or Palace of Masks, and is completely covered on one side with masks of Chac.

© Neil 2015